Manchester Mums with HIV will now be given enough formula milk and supplies to feed their babies during the first year of life, in a move to prevent transmission of the virus through breastfeeding.
The announcement of the funding has been made by Manchester City Council and Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (a partnership between Manchester Council and Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group) as part of its events to mark World Aids Day (Dec 1). The funding will pay for the services, commissioned from George House Trust, which provides support and information to people living with HIV, and will also cover bottles and sterilising equipment.
During pregnancy most mums to be who have HIV take combination therapy which means there is little risk of transmission of the virus to the foetus. However, once the baby is born, there is a possible risk of infection via breastfeeding. This is why Manchester is taking a proactive approach in funding the formula milk for the first year of the baby’s life.
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Council, said: “This move is all helping to give babies and their Mums the very best start in their life together to that both can stay fit and well during those really special and bonding months.”
Most of the Mums who will be helped with this news will already know they have HIV or in some cases they may have found out during their pregnancy.
Today’s news is the result of partnership working between Manchester’s HIV treatment services, the Health Visiting Service, Specialist midwives and George House Trust.
Steph Mallas, George House Trust CEO, said “We are delighted to have worked with Manchester City Council to help make free formula milk for HIV positive mums in the city a reality. This is a significant and welcome initiative which removes the risk of HIV transmission through breast feeding and is another step in the direction of our shared goal of ending HIV in a generation.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of World Aids Day, first marked in 1988. Despite significant advances in treatment, HIV remains an issue across Greater Manchester with an estimated 5,600 people living with HIV and an estimated 300 new diagnoses every year.
Manchester, alongside the other Greater Manchester authorities has recently signed up to become a 'Fast Track' City region with a vision of eradicating new cases of HIV within a generation.